Explore the connections between land-based cultural identity and social justice, community, and ecological stewardship in an amazing and unique landscape. Gain hands-on experience in alternative building & design, organic gardening, sustainable community management and group processing.
• Engage in peace dialogues with Muslims, Christians and Jews (Orthodox and secular) to discuss ideas for creating peace and justice in the region.
Fall 2013: $15,900
Spring 2014: TBA
Includes tuition, program costs, room and board, in-country travel.
Learn about financial aid options here
16 Transferable Credits from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
upon successful completion of the program
Fall Semester: August 19 – December 19, 2013
Spring Semester: January 29 – May 29, 2014
Minimum GPA: 2.5
Minimum Age: 18 and above
Language: none required
Yes: Contact the Living Routes office for details
Fall Semester: March 15
Spring Semester: September 30
Rolling admissions on a first come first serve basis, so apply early!
Contact us for availability.
Kibbutz Lotan is an intentional Reform Zionist Jewish community based on the values of renewing Judaism, equality, economic cooperation, ecology, “I-Thou”, right livelihood, home community and tikun ‘olam (repairing the world).
The Kibbutz’s success, as an experiment in communal living, stems from its dynamic nature of constantly re-evaluating and reinventing the way the community lives the kibbutz ideal. The community successfully balances introspection with involvement and outreach to create a healthy and vibrant society.
Kibbutz Lotan is located near a built wetlands supporting bird migration and is the heart of a Bird Park under the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and Bird Life International. Learn more about the community here!
The health and safety of students and faculty on Living Routes programs is always our highest priority. Living Routes has clearly articulated health and safety protocols and procedures compiled in our Health and Safety Manual. This manual is reviewed and updated on a yearly basis to ensure the highest standard of care is in place on all Living Routes programs. The Health and Safety Manual is available for download here, or contact our office for a copy to be sent to you. All students also receive a comprehensive handbook including detailed chapters on health, safety and guidelines for preventing illness during the program.
Living Routes faculty and staff have extensive international experience and numerous affiliations throughout our various host communities and countries. These individuals and networks ensure that we stay informed about changing conditions and help us prevent health and safety risks while also responding to emergencies quickly and effectively if they should arise. Our program managers and directors have regular communication with field staff and faculty, who all carry emergency cell phones and are trained to carry out Living Routes Emergency and Evacuation Protocols, in the event that we must respond to an emergency, or remove a student or program from the field.
For questions or more information about Living Routes Health and Safety policies, please contact our office at (888) 515-7333 or email us at info[at]livingroutes.org.
(Judaic and Near Eastern Studies 390L) (4 credits)
Students explore social and environmental justice issues in Israel/Palestine from a variety of Israeli and Palestinian and Bedouin perspectives and learn tools for building a just peace.
(SRVSLRNG 390) (4 credits)
Students learn service learning methodologies and skills for living in community. They create their own learning community while living in and contributing to social and development projects in kibbutzim, traditional villages, towns and bi-national intentional communities.
(Plant and Soil Sciences 398B) (4 credits)
Theoretical and practice-based course focusing on the context, skills and tools required for the design of sustainable human habitats in different environments. Using new ecological knowledge, students help lead a process of needs-assessment and design projects that will make a difference in village lives.
(Regional Planning 596A) (4 credits)
Foundation course emphasizing theory and practice-based learing. Students focus on the skills, methods and materials associated with ecological design and construction, appropriate technologies, and the building of sustainable communities.
(Judaic 197/297) (2 credits)
Theses two courses enable students to communicate effectively in clear and correct prose in a style appropriate to subject, occasion and audience. Students develop basic or intermediate comprehension and the capacity to reflect upon and discuss individual, environmental, economic and social aspects of life at Kibbutz Lotan.
M.S., Environmental Science and Management, Duquesne University
BA, Biology, Chatham University
Leah has been a Lotan resident for 8 years and works at Lotan’s Center for Creative Ecology overseeing new developments in the ‘Eco-Kef’ ecology park as well as creating environmental education programs for visitors of all ages. She also manages the Kibbutz 1/2 acre vegetable garden and teaches classes on plant biology and sustainable desert gardening. Zigmond has also worked for the Southern Arava Research and Development Station, overseeing various field experiments. With a backgound in both market gardening and agricultural research Zigmond’s particular passions include sustainable irrigation practices and community supprorted agriculture.
M.Sc., Environmental Studies, Joint Program: Arava Institute and Ben Gurion University
B.S., Soil and Water Sciences and Environmental Quality in Agriculture, Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture
Alex is a founding member of Lotan. His MSc research showed how significant savings in energy use can be realized in the extreme southern Arava desert climate by adhering to a specific design criteria. Alex supervises the research interns at the Center for Creative Ecology and works on various planning and development projects in the EcoCampus Neighborhood and on the kibbutz.
Mike was born in England and is a graduate of The London College of Furniture (Design/Craft). He is certified in Permaculture and Organic Agriculture and has many years of experience in teaching, building, welding and carpentry. A member of Lotan since 1986, Mike is the manager and initiator of Lotan’s “Ecological Projects” that grew into the Center for Creative Ecology. His work was recently documented by France’s ARTE Televisoin Global Magazine program.
MD, University of British Columbia
Born in Vienna, Michael grew up in Vancouver B.C. and graduated with a specialization in Social Psychiatry. Livni served as coordinator for the Israeli Reform Youth Movement and has worked in various agricultural and economic fields. Since 1986, he has lived on Kibbutz Lotan, where he has been instrumental in establishing a widely successful program of educational ecology and eco-tourism.
M.Sc., South Bank University in London
Honours (MA equiv.), James Cook University of North Queensland
B.Sc., University of Sydney
Born in England, Mark grew up in Australia, and graduated with degrees in Ecology and Education for Sustainability. A resident of Kibbutz Lotan since 1989, he is the principal guide at the Center for Creative Ecology and is responsible for the Center’s educational programming.
Rabbinical Ordination, ALEPH: the alliance for Jewish Renewal
M.A., Jewish Studies, Hebrew College Boson
B.Sc., University of Sydney
Since 1990, Burstyn has made his home as a member of Kibbutz Lotan in Israel’s Arava Desert. Daniel holds a Master’s Degree in Jewish Studies through Boston’s Hebrew College, where his research focus was on Judaism and the Environment, and was ordained Rabbi through ALEPH: the alliance for Jewish Renewal. He also holds a certificate in Permaculture. On the kibbutz, Daniel has worked in the kitchen, early childhood daycare, and as editor of the news magazine of the Eilot Regional Council. He currently manages the landscaping department and does his rotational work milking the cows.
UMass Faculty Sponsor: Peace and Social Justice in Israel/Palestine (JUDIC 390L)
UMass Faculty Sponsor: Applications and Practices of Sustainable Living (SRVSLRNG 397I)
UMass Faculty Sponsor: Permaculture and Design (PSIS 396B)
UMass Faculty Sponsor: Sustainable Design and Construction (Regional Planning 596A)